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I grew up in the small town of Brinkley, Arkansas that had a population of roughly 5,000 people. I have been a teacher since I was 12 years old. I started playing the piano at the age of 6. My skills advanced rather quickly so my parents allowed me to give piano lessons to earn some money in addition to the allowance I was receiving. As a junior in high school, I was a first grade tutor in reading and mathematics. In college I tutored students in math, biology, English and study skills. I have been a high school teacher for ten years now. I have taught middle school, high school, college and on the university level. My forte in high school was mathematics. Mathematics came easy to me, and I helped my friends with their homework. My first passion was music but I soon realized that by majoring in mathematics would make me be more marketable with a degree in mathematics verses a degree in music. While completing my undergraduate work at Arkansas State University, I had a job as a Student Support Services tutor. I was able to make my own schedule and set my own hours. I loved teaching college students! That is when I knew I wanted to be a college instructor. However, instead of continuing with my education, I decided to get a job as a high school teacher so I could acquire some work experience. My first teaching job was in Fort Worth, Texas, at South Hills High School. I went to back to school for a master’s degree to be to teach in college. I started graduate school at the University of Texas at Arlington in the summer of 2002. I resumed my course of study in a masters of arts program in mathematics education in January 2004. I completed my graduate work at the University of Central Arkansas in August 2005. Now that I had my masters degree I could teach in a college. I continued to teach high school full time and be an adjunct faculty member at the college. In 2006, I took a position as an instructional specialist at Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth, TX. In 2008, I took a position as a lead content teacher at Leonard Middle School in Fort Worth, TX. I taught at Little Rock Central High School from 2003 to 2006. While I was a teacher at Little Rock Central High School, I enrolled in an on-line multicultural education class. The class changed my views about at risk students in public schools. I was fortunate to grow up in a home with two educated parents who understood and valued a good education; my parents were role models for me; I was academically competitive so I could get scholarships to go to college. After taking the class, I was more conscious of and sympathetic to the struggles and circumstances among minority students; inequity between girls and boys, inequity among minority students and white students. I have a broader understanding of the students that I teach and design innovative strategies and/or methods to make them more successful in high school. In turn, they are able to compete in the world; become well-adapted adults in our society; possess the communication skills to be productive on the job. In the summer of 2008, I moved to Garland to teach at Garland High School. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be Program Administrator for Project Educating and Diversifying to Grow Exponentially (EDGE). Helping students become more competent and confident in mathematics has been a passion of mine for several years now. My vision for educating children in mathematics is that “every child is capable to mastering mathematics. In order for mastery to be achieved, students must be provided with meaningful learning experiences; an opportunity to conceptualize and internalize the mathematics, and to experience a progression through mathematics that is related to their prior knowledge” ~ Canaa Lee In 2010, I orchestrated the establishment of Project E.D.G.E. (Educating and Diversifying to Grow Exponentially). In order to provide the African American students with the best possible learning experience, I partnered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – Garland Branch partnered with Garland Independent School District (GISD), the City of Garland, Lakeview Centennial and South Garland High School to launch this program: The purpose of this program is to address the needs of African American students, to help them succeed academically and to provide African American students with an opportunity for a promising, prosperous future quality of life in venues other than sports and entertainment. Every child deserves the opportunity to excel in school, but the way in which go about accomplishing this goal is not a “one size fit all” method. My goal is to improve students’ experience and even enjoyment of high school level mathematics courses. I also recognizes that a child's education and performance in school is a responsibility shared by the school, family and community at-large. Through this partnership, the school district endeavors to meet the diverse cultural needs of parents and children. As a result of my hard work to education, I was unanimously selected as the 2011 Educator of the Year by the Garland NAACP. I founded the EDUKATE Academy on December 19, 2011. In January 2012, I became an associate Time to Teach Trainer/Presenter. Since then I have presented at the Innovative Leadership Conference in Memphis, TN; High School That Work Conference in New Orleans; Arkansas Association of Alternative Education in Hot Springs, AR; Conference for the Advancement of Mathematic Teaching in Houston, TX; Mid-South Teachers Teaching with Technology Regional Conference in Marion, AR; Kindergarten Teachers of Texas Conference in Austin, TX.

Story: High School Scandals: The Unbelievable Truth


Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!

What is the best writing advice you've ever heard?
The best advice I ever heard was after you have written something, put it aside for 24 hours. When you return it to, read it out loud to yourself.
When you start a new story do you prepare an outline in advance or do you just jump right in?
When I am writing poetry or a story about an event in my life, I do my best writing during the summer when I do not have to work. I focus best when I am alone, and it is quite- no television, no music, nothing-just me and my thoughts.
How do you deal with writing criticism, apart from just ignoring it?
Writing criticism is hard to swallow the first time. It is your advantage to embrace the criticism because it will make you a better, more insightful, more creative writer.


Jacquelyn Hollister

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Great read! I had know idea things like this happened in High School. Such an eye opener.

Lisa Rose

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Interesting read. High school has always been a 'social' thing. If you are not 'just right' you're out. Out of the clicks and out of luck. Injustice isn't unusual, (unfortunately) what is unusual is the participation of the teachers in the scandal of your story. If you have the time, please read my story, 'Drift Away' and write a review. I could really use your imput.

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Not a great read
December 18th, 2012
The winner of America's Next Author 2012 has been announced! [...]
December 7th, 2012
Questions and answers about the Battle Round. [...]
America's Next Author

#ANA2012 | What Fans Have To Say


America's Next Author is the first social writing contest. Friends, family, fans and publishing industry experts will read authors' submissions and nominate their favorite to be America's next major author. Everyone can participate!